Clemson Edges East Carolina 4-2


by - Correspondent -
    |

CLEMSON - The tired old cliche about baseball being a game of inches was
never more prevalent than Saturday afternoon at Clemson's Doug Kingsmore
Stadium.


Jarrod Schmidt's sixth-inning, two-run home run off the glove of East
Carolina centerfielder Warren Gaspar snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the
top-seeded Tigers a 4-2 victory over the No. 2 seed Pirates Saturday in the
NCAA Regional Tournament.


The victory advances Clemson (49-14) to today's 2 p.m. championship round,
where it will face the winner of Saturday night's East Carolina/Georgia
Southern loser's bracket final.


Schmidt, dropped one spot to seventh in the batting order Saturday, followed
Zane Green's leadoff double in the sixth inning with a deep line shot just to
the left of the 400-foot sign in straight-away centerfield. Gaspar negotiated
the slope to the fence with no problem, timed his leap perfectly and for a
moment appeared to have come down with the ball.


But after lying motionless on the ground for a few seconds, Gaspar rolled
over to his knees and slapped the turf with his glove in disgust.


Schmidt, who had been running hard around second, finally slowed into his
home run trot as he approached third base.


"I was actually looking for a breaking ball," Schmidt said. "I never really
saw the spin on it, but he got it on the inner third (of the plate) and I hit
it pretty good. I didn't know if (Gaspar) caught it or not. I was running
hard all the way just in case."


"He's been struggling some at the plate," said head coach Jack Leggett. "But
I've been watching Jarrod play since he was in junior high, and he's always
been a tournament player, a big game player. He rises to the occasion."


Schmidt's homer also provided a lift for starting pitcher Matt Henrie (11-4).


Henrie, who appeared to be wilting in the 95-plus degree heat during the
sixth inning when ECU scored a run to tie the game at 2-2, found enough of a
second wind to complete eight innings before giving way to Jeff Hahn in the
ninth.


Henrie allowed seven hits and two runs in his eight innings, striking out
seven and walking two. Both runs he allowed were unearned.


Most importantly, his effort gives Leggett a well-rested bullpen at his
disposal for today's championship round.


"It was as hot as I can remember it out there," said Leggett. "When Matt came
in after the sixth inning, I said 'Okay, show us what you're made of now.' He
went out in the seventh and eighth with a different gear, a different
mentality...I think a little more aggressive attitude.


"It was a hot day, and he did a great job going eight strong innings. He had
to suck it up a little to make it happen."


East Carolina (42-19-1) took an early 1-0 lead on Clayton McCullough's
two-out, RBI single in the first inning.


Clemson went ahead 2-1 in the fourth when ECU's Jedd Sorenson's wild throw on a
potential double play ball with the bases loaded allowed Michael Johnson and
Zane Green to score.


The Pirates tied it in the sixth off Henrie on Adam Stephens' run-scoring
groundout with the bases loaded. Henrie escaped further damage by inducing
Bryant Ward to fly out to center, ending the inning.


Penny (8-4) was the loser for ECU.


Hahn pitched the ninth inning for Clemson, earning his third save.

East Carolina 2 (42-19-1)

Player              AB  R   H   RBI BB  SO  PO  A   LOB
Gaspar, Warren cf   4   0   1   0   1   0   2   0   1
Sorenson, Jedd 2b   4   2   1   0   0   1   2   5   0
 Cavanaugh, B ph    1   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   2
Lawhorn, Darryl 1b  3   0   2   0   1   0   9   0   0
McCullough, Clayton c   4   0   1   1   0   1   2   0   0
Stephens, Adam dh   2   0   0   0   0   2   0   0   1
 Vick, Daniel ph/dh 2   0   1   1   0   0   0   0   0
Ward, Bryant 3b     4   0   0   0   0   1   0   2   4
Cherry, Luke ss     4   0   0   0   0   1   4   4   0
Jones, Ryan rf      4   0   1   0   0   1   2   0   0
Sanderson, Ben lf   4   0   2   0   0   0   3   0   1
Penny, Davey p      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
 Tucker, Glenn p    0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
 Bunn, Greg p       0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Totals......        36  2   9   2   2   8   24  11  9

Clemson 4 (49-14)

Player              AB  R   H   RBI BB  SO  PO  A   LOB
Valiente, R lf      3   0   0   0   2   0   0   0   0
Frank, Kyle cf      5   0   2   0   0   0   3   0   2
Greene, Khalil ss   3   0   1   0   0   0   1   2   0
Baker, Jeff 3b  4   0   1   0   0   0   0   4   1
Johnson, Michael 1b 3   1   0   0   1   1   13  0   2
Green, Zane dh      3   2   2   0   1   0   0   0   2
Schmidt, Jarrod rf  4   1   2   2   0   0   0   0   0
Pyzik, Steve c      4   0   1   1   0   0   8   1   0
Slevin, David 2b    3   0   0   0   0   1   1   4   3
 DeMaino, L.J. ph   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
 Triplett, R 2b     0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0
Henrie, Matt p      0   0   0   0   0   0   0   3   0
 Hahn, Jeff p       0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0
Totals......        33  4   9   3   4   2   27  14  10

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
East Carolina....... 100 001 000 -  2  9  2
Clemson............. 000 202 00X -  4  9  1
-------------------------------------------

E - SORENSON 2(10); HENRIE(2). DP - E. Carolina 1. 
LOB - E. Carolina 9; Clemson 10. 2B - SANDERSON(4); 
GREENE(28); BAKER(9); GREEN(5). HR - SCHMIDT(10). 
HBP - GREENE. SB - JONES(13); PYZIK(1); DeMAINO(12). CS -
LAWHORN(3).

East Carolina       IP  H   R   ER  BB  SO  AB  BF  NP
Penny, Davey        5.0 7   4   3   3   2   21  25
Tucker, Glenn       2.2 2   0   0   1   0   11  12
Bunn, Greg          0.1 0   0   0   0   0   1   1

Clemson             IP  H   R   ER  BB  SO  AB  BF  NP
Henrie, Matt        8.0 7   2   0   2   7   31  33
Hahn, Jeff          1.0 2   0   0   0   1   5   5

Win - HENRIE (11-4).  Loss - PENNY (8-4).  Save - HAHN (3).
HB - PENNY. PB - PYZIK(10).
Umpires - Home:Paul Guillie  1st:Jeff Henrichs  
2nd:Mike Rose  3rd:John Ausmus
Start: 3:02   Time: 2:40   Attendance: 4374
Game notes:
Game 4 of Clemson (SC) Regional.
East Carolina will play Georgia Southern Saturday
at 7:00 PM.
Clemson will play East Carolina-Georgia Southern 
winner Sunday at 2:00 PM.
PENNY faced 2 batters in the 6th.


BONUS COVERAGE


CLEMSON, SC - Matt Henrie did not allow an earned run and Jarrod Schmidt hit a two-run homer to lead top-seeded Clemson past second-seeded East Carolina 4-2 in the Clemson Regional Saturday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson advances to the regional championship game Sunday at 2:00 PM while East Carolina plays Georgia Southern at 7:00 PM tonight to determine Clemson's opponent.


Henrie (12-4) threw 120 pitches over eight innings, allowing only two unearned runs and seven hits while striking out seven and walking two. The outing was his second longest of the season behind an 8.1 inning effort in a win at North Carolina. Starter Davey Penny (8-4) got the loss for East Carolina.


East Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning behind Clayton McCullough's RBI-single through the left side. The Tigers put runners in scoring position in the first two innings without getting a run before finally breaking through in the fourth. Clemson loaded the bases with one out when Steve Pyzik hit a ground ball to shortstop. Luke Perry flipped the ball to second baseman Jedd Sorenson, but Sorenson's attempt to turn the double play went awry when his throw sailed over first base and into the dugout. Two runs scored on the play to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.


The Pirates tied the score in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Daniel Vick grounded out to first base, allowing Sorenson to score. With runners on second and third, Henrie induced a flyout to get out of the inning without further damage.



Clemson regained the lead in the bottom of the frame thanks to Jarrod Schmidt. After Zane Green doubled, Schmidt hit a deep fly to center that ECU's Warren Gaspar had in his sights. Gaspar leaped and crashed into the fence as the ball hit his glove. The ball then went over the fence for a home run, Schmidt's 10th of the year, and put the Tigers up 4-2.


Meanwhile, Henrie held down the Pirate offense. He put two runners on in the eighth inning, but got out of the inning and was relieved by Jeff Hahn in the ninth. Hahn retired the first two batters in the ninth before giving up two straight hits. Hahn then struck out pinch hitter Brian Cavanaugh to earn his third save of the year and put Clemson in the regional championship game.


Green, Schmidt and Frank had two hits apiece to lead the Clemson offense. Khalil Greene doubled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 29 games. The hit was his eighth straight, the second time this year Greeene has notched eight hits in a row, and the double was the 90th of his career, moving him into third in NCAA history.

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